Milan Berry

Judge Milan Berry addresses Louisiana City Council.

LOUISIANA – Ahead of a January deadline to submit ballot language, City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday, Dec. 17, to fine-tune their proposal to voters for a series of property tax increases.

They got a better sense of their options  from City Attorney Kendall Reeves of the law firm of Cunningham, Vogel and Rost at last week’s City Council meeting.

One area of concern for the council had been the independence of a park board created by a new levy in support of maintenance of the city’s parks. Mayor Marvin Brown had said he was concerned that the board might opt not to contract with the city to upkeep the parks, duplicating costs and lowering the standard of maintenance.

Reeves told the Council there were two provisions in state law under which a new tax could be applied to support the parks, one of which would create a board that would have an advisory, rather than administrative, role.

At last Monday’s meeting, council members who commented on the issue generally indicated they were leaning toward an advisory board.

Brown asked Reeves to send draft proposals for tax ordinances that the Council could look over at its Monday, Dec. 9 committees meeting.

Berry appointed as municipal judge

In a cost-saving measure, Louisiana City Council voted at their November meeting to appoint Associate Circuit Court Judge Milan Berry as the judge for Louisiana’s municipal court.

Opting to employ a associate circuit court judge should save the city about $10,000 a year, Mayor Marvin Brown said. Berry was appointed unanimously.

At the meeting, Berry laid out his plans for his new docket. Berry presented the council with a uniform fine schedule that he is trying to apply consistently across the entire county. A consistent set of fines  should allow the defendants to opt to pay fines ahead of time, meaning they don’t have to take a day of work to make a court date, according to Berry.

“If you want somebody to do something, you ought to make it easy for them to do it,” Berry said.

Berry’s appointment is effective Jan. 1.

CORRECTION (Wednesday, Dec. 4): The print version of this article published in the Wednesday, December 4 issue of the Louisiana Press-Journal gave the wrong date for the special meeting of Louisiana City Council: it is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 17.

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